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American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story Paperback – Unabridged, 4 Feb 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Paperback, Unabridged, 4 Feb 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (4 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330438069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330438063
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,025,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"True neatly describes, in this peculiarly American tale, the inbred atmosphere of the counter-culture comedy world." -- Kirkus Reviews

Book Description

The highly-acclaimed unauthorised biography of cult anti-hero comedian Bill Hicks. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The author ..has made a stab here at profiling a comic genius who frankly deserved better. The choice of Janine Garofalo to write a foreward is quite bizarre, given that she didn't know Hicks and devotes a scant one and a half pages to tell us that he was a big influence on her - I don't see it myself. So, what True delivers is a life told through the eyes of a series of friends and managers - those who chose to cooperate with an unauthorised biography - there are no surprises here, no great insights and one is left with the nagging sensation that things have been left out. Some of the narratives presented by 'friends' do not ring entirely true; the impression that they have embellished or edited events in their own favour is hard to shake. The style is dry, the vocabulary oddly limited and the volume itself inexplicably slim when one considers how much living Hicks packed into his short life. That said, I salute any attempt to shed some light on the man's background and experiences and no doubt, if you're a fan of his work, you'll buy this book anyway just as I did. I can only hope that this doesn't become the definitive work on Bill Hicks' life and talent and that a better biographer comes along eventually to put some colour and motion into True's black and white still.
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By A Customer on 23 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
Excuse me while I refrain from singing Ms. True's praises for this book. "American Scream" is a biography of one of the most interesting entertainers of the 80s and 90s, whom died a relatively unknown, only to have his star explode upon his death. Bill Hicks' ideas obviously struck a chord with True (as it did with so many others) and compelled her to write a book about him, some 8 years after his death having never met the man in person.
To me, the book is a disappointment because it relies on the word of casual friends and "co-workers" and (seemingly) bootlegged recordings transcribed in part to form a narrative journey through Hick's life. There is not a great deal of information contained within this book that the average fan doesnt already know via the wealth of articles available online or from John Lahr's profile prior to Bill's death.
The book is undoubtably a fanboy(girl)'s unashamed gushing about someone she admires. Theres nothing really wrong with that but it still feels a tad empty for me as a Hicks' fan that finally something related to Hicks is released and its less than satisfactory way to celebrate the life of one of the greatest entertainers of the past 50 years (who sounds like the fanboy now?). While you do get a somewhat limited insight into certain aspects of Bill's persona that you wouldnt normally get, at the end of the day only the die hard fans will rush out and buy it and... they'd know most of the story anyway.
I, for one, hope Kevin Booth will eventually come through with THE definitive epitath to the life of Bill Hicks - And Im sure he will. Someday.
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Format: Paperback
I've actually just finished reading 'American Scream' and im still unsure of what i felt about it. In one way it was great to read about the stuff you didnt know about Hicks, the personal stuff and his friends, yet you feel as if the person is writing a journalistic piece on one of the greatest people to have ever lived and clearly didnt know Hicks herself. Every antidote she included from his live shows you will have heard if you have his albums, or have seen the video's. Alot of the commments from Mr and Mrs Hicks, aswell as his friends can be seen on the 'Totally Bill Hicks' video, which seems to show she hasnt went that in-depth on her subject, much to the dismay of all his fans around the world. I guess if you really like Bill Hicks, you should buy it no matter what just to read about his depression and other issues which you really wouldnt imagine from just listening to him.
So i advise you to read it, but dont expect much from it. I would rather have had the writer to be Hicks himself (sadly impossible) or even someone close to him, or with similar feelings about the downfall of the world. This woman seems to have no geographical knowledge of the world outside America, often referring to Glasgow and Edinburgh as being in England. Her ignorance for these facts im sure Hicks would have been very annoyed with if he were alive today. But then again, if Hicks were alive today, he would probably be ruling the world and we wouldnt need some anonymous writer writing about him, the world would KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM.
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By A Customer on 15 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
Well finally! Roll out the bunting and put on the party hats Goat Boy fans because after one incredibly long wait something new about the genius that was/is Bill Hicks is now available for us, the extended family of Hicks fanatics, to go out and buy!
Really, this book has been such a frustrating and looooooong time coming considering Bill's ever increasing (and fully justified) cult status. It's really quite surprising that no one has put pen to paper before now; but a big pat on the back to True for making the effort and doing a pretty good job.
This is actually a pretty straight forward, but extremely interesting biography, and it manages to detail Bill's life as well as it can without any imput from the man himself (obviously). True relys on the stories and accounts from Bill's friends and colleagues, and the anecdotes are delievered with just the kind of affection and admiration you would expect. For those of us who only really caught onto Bill after his death the details about his early years, and how he broke into stand-up will be particularly interesting.
Is the definitive account of Bill? I hope not, there is a lot more out there and hopefully one day it will be available to us all, but this is a essential contribution to the, unfortunately, pretty small canon of work.
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